Who we are

Our staff have a wealth of experience across both school improvement and back office support…

Our leadership team are well versed in providing quality, inclusive education for all children and young people including those identified with challenges, needs or disadvantage, resulting in happy, engaged, motivated learners and staff. They bring together many years of experience and success in leadership in education, charity and private sectors in collaboration with national and international governments.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The role of the Chief Executive Officer at Achievement for All Education Trust is a strategic one. It is essential to ensuring the long- term sustainability of the Trust, both in terms of its growth and development and in its structures and organisation. The CEO is the embodiment of the guiding principles upon which the trust was formed, and the guardian of those principles moving forward. In the same way the AfA ET members operate with AfA ET directors, at Achievement for All Education Trust, the CEO role has the additional responsibility of being the Accounting Officer and final arbiter on all key issues.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO)

The role of Deputy Chief Executive Officer at AfA ET is a critical one to the ongoing success and development of the Trust and its constituent academies. The role is multifaceted, being both operational and strategic. Operationally, it is very much ‘hands on’ in working with academies, their Head Teachers and Local Advisories Bodies. It is also functional in terms of ensuring efficient and effective communication up, down and across the trust and its academies, and directional in terms of evidence and advice provided to AfA ET Members, Directors and the CEO.

Professor Sonia Blandford
Chief Executive Officer

Sonia is an award winning leading international education practitioner and writer, with a career that has spanned five decades across 23 countries.  Trained as a music teacher at Bretton Hall College, Sonia held teaching and leadership posts in Barnsley, Wiltshire, Bath, Hounslow and Bristol, gaining two Masters (music and education), and was among the first to be awarded an EdD (leadership, management and administration) in the UK.  Moving to Oxford Brookes University as a senior lecturer, Sonia was appointed Deputy Dean and Professor of Education, during which time she led a number of multi-national contracts focused on leadership and school improvement. Sonia was also a founding tutor on the NPQH programme.

Sonia joined Canterbury Christ Church University as Dean of Education Canterbury Christ Church University, then Pro-Vice Chancellor for Quality, holding various national and international appointments. Sonia was appointed by the European Commission as one of four European experts that created pan European policy on how to improve teacher professional development, and chaired the education committee responsible for ‘Tuning’ masters qualifications across Europe. Sonia moved to the University of Warwick as Professor of Education and Innovation, where she led the Achievement for All pilot on behalf of the Department for Education. Sonia moved to the Institute of Education as Professor of Social Enterprise, supporting the creation of the International Centre for Literacy and co-leading the Education Endowment Foundation teacher retention project (RETAIN). Sonia created her first charity in 1981, founding and advising further 10 charities, including creating the Teach First programme, founding trustee of the Chartered College of Teaching, and founding Achievement for All.  Sonia has continued with her engagement in European policy and research, representing the Department for Education on the European Agency for Inclusion, Raising Attainment project. As a writer, Sonia has edited and authored 43 books, and published over 200 articles and blogs, receiving national acclaim for ‘Born to Fail? Social Mobility: A Working Class View’.

Sonia has held five honorary posts including Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.  Sonia also chaired the Blackpool Challenge and has led the creation of the Achievement for All Education Trust.

– Certificate in Education, Bretton Hall College
– BEd (Hons), University of Leeds
– MA, Reading University
– MPhil, University of Bath
– EdD, University of Bristol
– DSc, University of Bolton
– UCL IoE, Visiting Professor of Education
– University of Warwick, Honorary Professor of Education
– Debrett’s Top 500 Most Influential People in the UK, 2015, 2016
– Women of the Year, 2016

Laura Bromberg
Deputy CEO

Laura has a breadth of educational and business experience on both a regional and national level, working within schools, Local Authorities and with the DFE. She was a Head Teacher for 12 years alongside which she undertook a number of consultancy roles including training for OFSTED, and training and assessing candidates for the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers. Laura supported a number of schools in leadership and Governance, including The Performance Management of Headteachers at over 30 schools. Laura was a Networked Learning Co-ordinator for 11 schools across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire before working for Gloucestershire’s School Improvement team. This role included managing one to one tuition across the county and supporting the Achievement for All pilot and managing the South West School Improvement hub. Laura ran her own consultancy business where she spoke across UK on closing the gap – particularly through effective provision mapping, where she joined a DFE working party.

Within the charity, Laura is Regional Lead for the West, whilst she is National Academies Lead within the Multi Academy Trust.

– CIMA Foundation A
– B.Ed (Hons) Geography
– University of Bristol M.Ed
– National Professional Qualification for Headteachers

Karen Iles
National Director

Karen has a strong background in the education sector, with a particular focus on the improvement of outcomes for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Pupil Premium. Since being awarded a SEN diploma in 2002, and the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2004, she has worked as Strategic Lead for SEN Improvement at Gloucestershire County Council leading the South West hub delivery on Achievement for All, Lead for Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Training Provider and SEN Advisor for Targeted Intervention for Schools in an Ofsted category.

At Achievement for All, Karen has been a Regional Lead for the South West and now National Director line managing the team of Regional Leads and Deputy Regional Leads who quality-assure the delivery of our Achieving Early, Achieving Early Firm Foundations, Achieving Schools, Achieving Further and Achieving More programmes across England and Wales. Since joining the charity she has been directly responsible for the delivery and quality assurance of Achievement for All’s programmes in over 3,000 schools, co-written the Pupil Premium Review, and has spoken at various regional and national events.

– Bachelor of Science (Hons)
– PGCE SEN Diploma (Masters)
– National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers

Our School Improvement Team

Supports leaders, teachers and the wider community to transform outcomes for all pupils, bringing together many years of school leadership, programme creation and leadership coaching.

Marius Frank
Head of Innovation

After a stellar career as a teacher (of science) and middle leader (including posts as varied as Head of Year, Head of Science and Director of Music) in some of the toughest secondary schools in the country, Marius became Headteacher of a school in Bristol which was named in the bottom 200 performing secondary schools in the country. Marius led the school community to a remarkable transformation, trebling performance outcomes in a decade in charge despite very low standards on entry.

Marius’ commitment to intelligently designed CPD (Continuous Professional Development) began as a Deputy Headteacher, leading area TVEI training in the use of technology in music, leading on Diploma developments across Bristol and lecturing on curriculum change management nationally as part of the Diploma roll-out programme. Marius was instrumental in promoting Foundation Stage learning, to secure better outcomes for learners with SEND.

In 2010, Marius became CEO of ASDAN Education, a large curriculum development and innovation charity and awarding organisation (winning Human Resource Magazine’s Most Person-Centred CEO of the Year award in 2011), before eventually joining Achievement for All in 2015.

– Bachelor of Science (Hons) Neurobiology
– Post Graduate Certificate of Education
– National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers

Liz Banister

A senior leader in comprehensive schools in the south east, who then moved to be a deputy headteacher of a large 11-18 secondary school in Bristol.  Whilst working in Bristol, she was asked to become part of the Excellence in Cities team developing the Gifted & Talented and Aimhigher programmes

Ten years working for Wiltshire Council where she trained as an Ofsted inspector and gained school improvement partner accreditation then providing support and challenge for a range of schools. Other responsibilities included overseeing standards of education in all the secondary and special schools and the implementation and leading a new school improvement adviser programme

Throughout her career, Liz has had a particular focus on improving the outcomes for disadvantaged students and has been working for Achievement for All since 2012 as an achievement coach in primary, secondary and special schools and carrying out Pupil Premium Reviews.

Since 2014, Liz has also worked as an educational consultant – working as a school improvement adviser in secondary and special schools and providing training for governors.

– University of London, Royal Holloway College 1977 – 1980. BSc. Hons (2:2) in Botany
– Kingston Polytechnic 1980 – 1981. P.G.C.E. in the secondary phase, specialising in science

Our Support Team

Provides expert led back office support based on their many years of experience working in charity, education and private sectors

Stephen Pike
Head of Information and Technology

Stephen has worked in the education sector throughout his career. He taught in secondary schools in the Basingstoke area for ten years and developed a special interest in Assessment.  He completed a Masters’ Degree. The subject of his dissertation was a comparative study of assessment and examination systems. He joined Wiltshire Local Authority as a member of the advisory service Assessment Team where he led a project, which engaged with all secondary and post-16 organisations in Wiltshire and Swindon. He completed his OFSTED inspector training. In 2000 he became the IT and Data manager for the local privatised careers company and later transferred to the Nord Anglia head office team to manage the operational delivery of two OFSTED contracts.

He completed two interim assignments at two private education companies, Babcock 4S and Prospects Education.

Stephen has been with Achievement for All since 2012 and has specialised in the capture, processing and analysis of performance and impact data.

– Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theology
– Post Graduate Certificate of Education
MA Multicultural, comparative and international education

Nicola Laverton
Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development

Nicola has a wealth of experience in senior human resources and development roles with a UK and EU remit in a range of corporate sectors with companies including Diageo and Babcock International. She has successfully implemented a portfolio of vocational, apprenticeships and leadership qualifications achieving accredited centre status in a number of organisations, as well as leading and facilitating a major coaching programme across Europe.

She has also worked as a university lecturer and French teacher, is an assessor for a number of training awards and is registered in psychometric assessment with the British Psychological Society.  As leader of Achievement for All’s Human Resources function, Nicola supports the charity in developing HR strategy – a role supported by her membership of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, her B.Ed(Hons) French degree and Master’s in Strategic International HR and ongoing CPD.

– MCIPD B.Ed (Hons)

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